Today I went in search of tulips, those small packages, when buried underground, turn into beauty beyond compare when spring comes. It is as if by magic that they grow from the cold ground and bloom in a riot of color.
In 1636 my friend Petris traveled from Holland to my castle in the East and presented me with a box full of what looked like tear drop shaped balls of light wood. They were rare tulip bulbs, brought to me with great cost. Oh the magic of these flowers amazed me. It was beyond magic for it was real.
I drove to a place called a nursery. There are no babies or children there, only plants and tools.
At the nursery were bins full of bulbs. There were tulips of colors I could never imagine. There were crocus, iris, and daffodil bulbs. I stood in wonder. Never before had I seen so much spring before me, waiting to be planted in the ground then come alive again, beautiful and surreal – like Vampires of the plant world.
As I chose my tulips of many colors and put them in the large metal basket on wheels I had a feeling I was being watched.
Two women stood next to me with smiles on their faces.
The one with the silver hair and young face spoke first. “Those tulips will be beautiful. You have so many. Are you planting a large space?”
“I did not think of space,” I said. I had eighty tulip bulbs in my metal basket on wheels.
“You look like you work in the garden a lot,” said the one with blonde hair and large brown eyes as she glanced at my arms.
“No, I am new to this gardening hobby. I love tulips, and other bulbs of springtime.”
“That is so cute,” said the silver haired one. “I bet you spend a lot of time at the gym.”
I smiled without fangs and made my blue eyes sparkle. That move has kept me fed for centuries.
“Very sweet,” said the blonde haired one. “Don’t forget to put them in the refrigerator for up to six weeks before you plant them. They need a hard frost to bloom well.” She touched my arm in what I have come to know is a friendly reassuring way. “You’re so cold.”
“I will warm up soon enough,” I said, knowing now what I would be doing for lunch.
After I arrived at my home I closed the curtains and put on soothing music using vinyl discs. I took the tulip bulbs in my hands and cooled them. There is no need to wait six weeks when one is a Vampire.
I planted my tulips. While I was digging in my yard one of my neighbors came out and asked me if my cat had died.
“My cat is not dead. I am planting tulips,” I told him.
He looked surprised. “At 1:00 a.m.?”
“I will not get sunburned,” I told him.
People are weird. I do not understand them. Why would he ask me if my cat was dead?
So I wait six months for my tulips to grow and come to life, like beautiful children buried under the dirt for a long winter nap.
Today I looked at where my tulips are planted. They are still underground.
I was out in a public place, a bar, where there are many people. I sat at the bar listening to the talk around me. I could hear all that was said. The people spoke of their places of work. They spoke some of politicians who lust over power and say stupid things. They mostly spoke of their romances. Then I turned. I overheard other Vampires.
They sat in a dark corner, with their heads close together. They spoke of a Vampire who had gone to a home where old people lived because it was easy. If the old person died it would not seem odd. The Vampires in the corner had removed this Vampire from the house of old people. They had taken him to the river and put a stake in his heart. They threw his ashes into the water.
I approached them. They all looked up, two males and one female. They were Vampires who hunted other Vampires. They could tell I am older and hold great power. This is not because of how I look but it is just something Vampires know.
I smiled, “Good evening.” I brushed back my golden hair. “I am Vlad.”
The looked at me in surprise. We talked. They said they were honored. I told them that now instead of ruling armies and keeping order, and keeping the law of Vampires, that I lived with a cat, and was gardening.
They laughed. They thought I was making jokes with them. I will let them think that.
The woman, a young Vampire in her 70’s told me that she didn’t expect me to be so cute. What is it with this cute? I asked her. She smiled and giggled like a school girl. There she sat in black leather with a knife strapped to her leg under her skirt, and she giggled.
We spoke of many things including the local Vampire community. I have been quiet. Most Vampire do not know I am here. Most do not know I exist anymore. After a while a young woman approached our table. I knew her. She and her friends are regulars at the bar.
She smiled at my friends then at me. Her name is Brittany. “Vlad, when you’re done here come join us,” she said. I told her that I would be there in a short time.
I reached into my satchel. “I have something for you before I go.”
“I never thought the King of Vampires would carry a man-purse,” said one of the Vampires.
“It is a satchel. Do not ever call my bag a man-purse,” I said freezing their hearts. Out of the bag I took my treasures. In front of each Vampire I set three tulip bulbs. “Plant these. They are blood red. Make sure you put the pointed side up or they will not grow. In the spring they will wake, like Vampires, beautiful and fresh.”
Then I went and joined my female friends.
In the early hours of the morning I opened my eyes in the bed of Brittany. Everything in her room was covered in flowers. The sheets on the bed were covered in flower patterns. Flowers were in vases on the furniture. Flower paintings were on the wall. I took this as a sign perhaps.
She ran her hand across my chest, up to my face, then curled her fingers in my hair and then brought her two lips to mine. “This is the last time I’m going to see you Vlad. You’re sexy and cute, but I’m getting married in a few weeks. I won’t be able to explain the punctures and bruises on my neck anymore.”
I was but a toy. But I knew that. I got what I wanted. She got what she wanted.
I left behind a dozen tulip bulbs with instructions on she could grow them in pots. I wished her well.
Walking down the street in the cool night air did not take the warmth of her body off of me. It has been that way for centuries. I am a Vampire. I am cold. But I am cute so women love me. Women love cats. Cats are cute. They love babies. Babies are cute. Babies are not always cute. I will never understand cute.
After being locked in a crypt for three hundred years I often find this modern world confusing. Yet, it is never dull. It is never uneventful.
I will miss Brittany. Her blood tasted like cherries mixed with a hint of thyme. But there will be others. There will always be others, but tonight I am out of tulips. The sun is coming up and I must get some sleep. And I will call Petris to find out what other wonders he discovered while I was locked in my crypt.